For over 80 years, the Penguin Bookshop has been a fixture in the heart of Sewickley, PA. Though having been located in various storefronts throughout town over the years, the Penguin has been kept alive through the loyalalty of its customers and has remained one of the community's greatest treasures.
It all started in 1929, when two young socialites realized their dream of opening their own bookshop. It was located on Chestnut Street and named after their favorite book, Penguin Island by Anatole France. The shop eventually moved to a former cigar shop on Beaver Street. In 1939, the shop was sold for $1 to a couple who spent the next 40 years running the store. In 1981, the shop was sold to another couple who bought the current property on Beaver Street, a building that was constructed in 1915. In 1987, the beloved shop again changed hands, with a staff member and resident cat becoming the new faces of the Penguin. Finally, in 2007, the store was for sale again. Current owners Janet and Bud McDanel invested their time, passion and resources to turn the Penguin into a state-of-the-art, exquisite bookstore, making it a jewel in the crown of Sewickley. The first “green” building in Sewickley, the Penguin Bookshop is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and the first independent bookshop in the country to earn this certification.
The Penguin Today
The McDanel's mission was to sustain an invaluable community resource while also creating a fresh, inviting, environmentally conscious establishment. The three-story building is completely renovated, complete with fireplace, cozy chairs to sit and read, and most important, a bountiful collection of books, from the latest bestsellers to the classics. Customers can peruse our magazines in comfy chairs by the fireplace.The Penguin's gift buyer, Mary, is commited to providing customers with an ecclectic array of gifts and cards, most of which are made from recyclable materials.
The Penguin's upstairs Childen's Department is a haven for young readers, with pillows to sit on while reading and a friendly environment that encourages parents and their children to spend time here. Storytime happens every Wednesday at noon, and children, ages 3-5, are encouraged to bring a sack lunch, listen to stories, and make a craft to take home.
Finally, the Penguin has a dedicated staff of booksellers who are committed to both books and making a personal connection to customers.
At the Penguin, there is truly something for everyone with a passion for learning more about the world.